Ports & Terminals

New Missouri River Port Clears Hurdles

The City Council of Jefferson City, Mo., voted on July 2 to contribute $150,000 to design work for a proposed new port on the Missouri River. The next day, the Cole County and Callaway County commissions also voted to contribute funding to the project. Cole County voted to contribute another $150,000 to the design work, while Callaway County voted to contribute $37,500, according to Cole County Commissioner Sam Bushman, who spoke with The Waterways Journal. Both counties also voted unanimously to forward the port project application to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) for approval.

The MoDOT application will be submitted in August. MoDOT says it replies within 60 days of receiving a port application.

Discussions about developing a port on the lower Missouri River have been percolating for years. Last year, the two counties and the city pitched in to fund a feasibility study by transportation consultant Cambridge Systematics. That study, completed in February, recommended two options for a port district. The first option, with estimated costs of about $54.77 million, would build on a single site on the river in southern Jefferson City, near the Missouri National Guard Ike Skelton Training Facility.

The second option would build on two sites, including one on the Missouri River in Calloway County near OCCI Inc., which already has barge unloading facilities there. The cost of that “combined” option was estimated at $59.5 million. Under the second option, crane-moved commodities, such as shipping containers, would be handled at the north site.

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The Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce is pursuing a nearly $1 million grant for further development. The proposal would base the port near the National Guard Training Site east of Jefferson City, with the option for a second facility on the north side of the river.

Bushman said that the National Guard is a strong supporter of the project, as are many nearby industries and potential customers. “We’ve got Scholastic Library Publishing located less than a mile from one of the proposed sites,” said Bushman. “They currently bring in their paper rolls by truck, so they are very interested in being able to use barges.”

Other nearby businesses interested in the port project include DeLong’s Inc, which manufactures structural steel; Diamond Dog Food, in Jefferson City; and Quaker Windows and Doors, located in Freeburg, Mo., on Highway 63, south of the Missouri River.

The project will take years to complete, said Bushman. “That’s why I’m not concerned about tariffs; by the time this becomes a reality, we hope all that will be behind us.”